Crisis in August
First the purple storm, low and close,
over the jade Gulf, darkened the wind.
Chest deep, I watched the curving fins
Of dolphins making love, cutting twin wakes
close, but a galaxy away.
In vines spidered over white dunes,
beach flowers bloomed, pale lilac as a scent
in memory. Flying dinosaurs,
a bomber squad of pelicans glide
over the ruffles of dropping tide.
Dark sky. What does this world need with me?
Garbagemen climb atop their violent truck,
to drag ripe mangoes from a tree,
but can’t get the higher fruit three stories up,
mauve, profoundly sweet, above the hedges. These will fall
to split: useless golden wedges. Persimmon flowers
fiercely decorate thin leaves. All’s complete.
Round leaves brown under the sea-grape tree.
What does this world need with me?
On wet ground from the shower spray
for washing off sand in the sea-grape’s shade,
Muscovy ducks talk. Their walk’s a sway
webby and arthritical. They sleep all day.
They’re Brazilian, shabby and fat,
gross, with black rubber feet,
red wattle wax around eyes and beaks.
They wait. They drink from the showers and eat from trash.
In late summer they gulp the marble sized grapes,
which ripen to ruby, dot the grass and bake,
The ducks get high and
brash and flare their wings,
Green-black or white,
lucky quonky drunken things.
James Robison has won a Whiting Grant, as well as a Rosenthal Foundation Award for his novel The Illustrator. A prose poem of his is a winner of a 2013 Pushcart Prize. contact